Maurice "Amazing" Stückenschneider starts the Spring Split of the League of Legends European Championship with a new role, in a new team. Recently returned to EU, the jungler has joined Misfits Gaming as their strategic coach. During the opening weekend, we got to catch up and talk about his transition from player to coach.
If I remember well, last time we talked it was before the holidays, and I had asked you when you would be back in LA. You said you’d return in December and then you never came back!
Yeah, my mistake.
What happened then?
Well, 100 Thieves decided to go a different direction, so they informed me about it and I searched for a new job. I could have probably found something in NA, but honestly it felt like the way that Misfits poached me and wanted me, it was different than any other orgs. I was not just an option for them, I was THE option and that made me feel a lot better about myself, so it made me want to join them. It also combines the NA-EU duality that I have been having so far, because they are an NA based org, partially in Florida, so maybe I’ll get to see Miami beach.
I can imagine that the end of a split can be a little bit stressful to players because you don’t really know where you’re going to land. How does that work for you, mentally?
It’s not something I think about anymore because it happens every year, like, you never know, and it’s just something that comes with the job. The only stressful part I guess is the the whole moving part, where “oh, I’m settling in LA and now I’m settling in Germany again”, so it’s stressful on the relationships. But it’s something you get used to and at this point I have friendships all over the world which I am fine with.
How did the opportunity with the Misfits happen? When did you first hear about their offer?
I knew staff members when I worked with them on Fnatic so we already had a connection, and everything they wanted out of me was something that I was willing to bring to a team, and I can bring to a team, so they just made the offer and I think in early December we came to terms.
Now that you are no longer in the LCS, what are some of the things that you think they can learn from the LEC, in the sense of how teams and players are managed?
Give the player more autonomy. I think NA is really about top down coaching and top down org structure, obviously because it’s basically a business model over there, and it’s getting like that in EU too, but it’s not that steady yet where there’s no other direction. I think giving players more autonomy and allowing them to build their brands more, besides team identity, is something NA should do. This also translates into picks and bans and the approach to the game, because NA is really stale, they never change. It’s always teamfight comps and it makes it for really stale games, so allow players to be themselves and maybe you will have more diversity in play styles, that’s what’s most important for me.
How has your transition been since you moved from player to coach? I know you have been an analyst for Riot before, but I don’t think you have coached on stage. I could be wrong, I tend to be wrong when interviewing you it seems.
I did coach before.
So I was wrong...
It was more of an online coaching, not even in person. How can you make 17 year old kids listen, it’s already hard in person, they can’t even put their face in front of a PC... So it went pretty bad.
Not completely wrong!
The transition to coaching is something that, I would have also loved to play at an org, but this is the right time to learn it, because coaching is not something you just pick up, even when I was a player-coach before, I get my teams to figure out the things. As player-coach you don’t have to be there all the time, you don’t have to hit it right every single time, but as a coach you have a meter, a bar of respect and every time you say something wrong, your player will take that away from you and at some point, if you’re making enough mistakes you’re going to be at zero, and you’re never able to recover it. When you lose the locker room, you lose the team, you know? As a player coach, you get to say things here and there but it’s not like everyone is relying on you.
What about lifestyle, is it as stressful? What has changed since you started coaching?
It’s a different stress I think. I don’t think I am working the same hours, but I do invest slightly more brain power into what I am doing, so it’s maybe more intense. I have to worry about things I never had to worry about before, about the grand scheme of things, how hard I have to be in certain situations, because the players can say whatever they want honestly, and you gotta be protected as a coach, there’s only so much that you can do, or you can say, like what the team allows, what the head coach allows, what the psych coach allows, so as a player you have a lot more leeway, as a coach you really have to make sure that whatever you say is actually true, and that’s a different kind of stress.
And do you think your future from now on is in coaching, or would you like to get back to playing again?
I’ll never know, honestly, I am a man of, I guess, at this point of many talents. I’ve been doing analysis for Riot Games, which hopefully I’m going to do again throughout the split at some point, and obviously, I’ve done the coaching and done the playing, so at this point whatever come up, whatever seems the most attractive to me at that point will be something I’ll be going for. But for now, I have a contract with Misfits as a coach so I have ties with the organization, so maybe if they ever want to sub me in, sure, if not, then it is what it is.
Recently you tweet something like “not recognizing half of the players at the LEC see is really weird”. What’s that all about?
We have a sh*t ton on rookies. Let’s be real here.
And is that a good or bad thing?
It’s both. Obviously it’s good to have a lot of rookies because the depth of the region is really really high, so you have a lot of people that can get in the same positions, but - and that’s my honest opinion, I think a lot of teams have too much cockiness almost, in them, and they are like “ok, we can bring in rookies” and only two of them are ready, so you end up kicking three players ruining their careers forever, basically making them unnatractive to all other organizations. Veterans are here for a reason. They are here because they have been putting in time, and time again, they can compete under pressure. Rookies don’t have that luxury, they have never been in that situation, so you don’t even know if they can face that, so orgs end up investing one year into players that are not worth it.
It goes both ways. I think NA needs more rookies for example, I think it would be good for the scene, just allow people to level up, and EU needs less rookies because we are going too far down the deep end and we are trying too hard to bring in the rookies and see what happens, it’s not something that I thoroughly support unless those rookies have been put in the right spots, because right now most orgs are unable to put them in the right spots.
Lastly, What do you miss the most about NA?
The food. *laughs*
The food. And I guess some of the people. I actually have been really disappointed by the fact I never got to play for TSM again.
The people that are there, that still have ties to the organization are the people I got along well the most throughout my career. Bjergsen who is obviously still with the org, then Reggie and Lustboy that has been coaching for a really long time. All of these people I have been identifying with so I do miss them, I just have a life-long bond and there’s only so much time to act upon it and it’s kind of sad to see that. We don’t have the same amount of time now to actually hang out with them, to spend time with them. So I think I miss the people and I guess the weather, cause right now it’s pretty f*cking cold here. Honestly, I have the same in EU, I missed a lot of people in EU too, some of the players I played with, some people I worked with, people I can always talk to no matter what happens. I will always miss people independent of which side of the globe I am on.